Most Incumbents Win Renomination, But At Least Three Upset By Newcomers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Some of the biggest names like Rich Fitzgerald and Chelsa Wagner were all alone on the ballot. But there were still a few political casualties in Tuesday’s primary election.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris, once council president, has been a fixture in city hall for 12 years.


But on Tuesday a 36-year old fifth-generation North Side beat her.


Democrat Bobby Wilson defeated Harris by a whopping 24 points.


“Somewhat overwhelmed. We worked so hard,” Wilson told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.


Wilson won with union help and support from Mayor Bill Peduto who was often at odds with Harris.


“I’m going to work with people to make sure we get resources,” pledged Wilson.


Delano: “Does it mean you do what the mayor tells you to do?”


Wilson: “No. It means I’m going to be a Northsider first, so we got to make sure that we get our needs met, so I want to work with everyone.”


In a primary election where most incumbents were not challenged at all, Bobby Wilson was an exception.


He went up against a strong incumbent, and he beat her.


But he wasn’t the only one.


Bethany Hallam, a 29-year-old Ross Township newcomer, defeated five-term at large county councilman John DeFazio, who has served on council for twenty years.


“I’m almost speechless. I’m almost never speechless, anyone who knows me,” said Hallam.


Once an opioid addict who was briefly incarcerated, Hallam has a compelling story of recovery.


“I spent 10 years battling addictions so up until almost three years ago when I did get clean it sort of defined who I was to a lot of people,” she said.


“But I always knew that I was so much more than my addiction said about me.”


Another surprise winner — Olivia ‘Liv’ Bennett who upset incumbent county councilwoman Denise Ranalli Russell.


“I’m excited. I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I’m humbled. I’m honored. All of those, all of those. Ready to get to work,” says Bennett.